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Public meetings highlight opportunities in sustainable fisheries |15 June 2019

Public meetings highlight opportunities in sustainable fisheries

The audience listening to one of the presentations

The Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaptation Fund (SeyCCAT) and the Development Bank of Seychelles (DBS) are conducting a series of informative public meetings on the opportunities in sustainable fisheries and the concept of Blue Finance.

The aim of the meetings, which will take place during the month of June, are to inform the public about the opportunities for funding available locally for entrepreneurs and business organisations engaged in sustainable fishing-related projects and activities to the benefit of communities, marine life and fish stocks.

The first meeting was held at the Anse Royale community centre on Thursday June 13, while the second was held yesterday (Friday) at the Beau Vallon community centre.

Despite a low turnout at the Anse Royale meeting, those present were informed about the importance of sustainable fisheries.

Chief executive of SeyCCAT, Angelique Pouponneau, and public relations officer for DBS, Stephanie Vengadasamy, took turns to explain how sustainable fisheries will not only provide for present, but also future needs and the different options for finance available from their respective organisations.

As one of the main pillars of the Seychelles economy, 17 percent of the total population is employed in the fisheries sector. They noted however that the ocean’s natural resources are being depleted with fish stocks declining by more than 60 percent in the last decade, as a result of unsustainable economic activity but a transition to sustainable fisheries will provide for social, economic and cultural benefits from fisheries, while also conserving fish populations, their habitats and ecosystems.

Blue Finance is a partnership between SeyCCAT, DBS and the government of Seychelles to support fisheries related businesses that are committed to transforming the Seychelles fisheries sector to achieve a sustainable basis.

SeyCCAT is providing small to medium grants of up to R100,000 and larger grants from R100,000 to R1,000,000 under its Blue Grants Fund (BGF). Interested parties have a timeframe of 6 weeks to prepare their concept note for submission once the call is made. A total of US $3 million of the Blue Bond proceeds is budgeted for BGF.

Once submissions have been made, a committee has been established to assess and evaluate the submissions with the process being more straightforward for small to medium grants. Applicants wishing for a larger grant for the realisation of their projects are required to submit a full project proposal for both the approval of both the committee and the Board, if the project is approved at the first stage. For entrepreneurs and business owners who may not have the necessary experience and knowledge, SeyCCAT is also acting as a facilitator in the process by providing assistance during the conceptualisation of the idea.

A second source of finance available for sustainable fisheries projects is available from the Blue Investment Fund (BIF) which is managed by DBS. DBS assists with the setting up of businesses and has been allocated a total of US $12 million of the Blue Bond proceeds for this fund. Individual loans can amount to R42million, with a repayment scheme of 4 percent annually for 15 years.

As with the process at SeyCCAT, a technical committee reviews submissions and selects loan proposals for phase 2 of the DBS financial appraisal. The proposal is granted by the Board. Environmental and social safeguards are conducted throughout the process.

Potential applicants interested in the Blue Finance funds are being encouraged to start planning their projects as the calls for proposals will be open once or twice a year for the next five years.

DBS and SeyCCAT will host a meeting at Anse Boileau on Monday June 17, Roche Caiman on Wednesday June 19 and Praslin and La Digue on Friday June 21.

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